UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at USP, Suva Fiji Islands
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre on October 17, at the University of the South Pacific (USP), to mark International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
UNFPA displayed and circulated awareness materials on the World at 7 Billion, and student briefing kits on Population and Development issues facing the Pacific. UNFPA's Programme Associate, Isikeli Vulavou, reported much interest from the USP students.
Personal stories of overcoming poverty and seeing the world through the lens of poverty were highlights of the formal programme organised by UNDP and the University of the South Pacific (USP) Students Association, underlining the importance of continuing efforts to eradicate poverty.
The Vice Chancellor and President of the University, Professor Rajesh Chandra, in welcoming guests to the event said he was pleased to see USP and UNDP actively working together following a memorandum of understanding signed between the two organisations earlier this year.
"Today we celebrate the voices of young people through UNDP's partnership with USP," said the UNDP Pacific Center Manager Garry Wiseman, as he delivered the opening remarks.
He said that UNDP's schools outreach visit conducted in the Western Division last week with the reigning Miss Sugar Renee Duguivalu advocated for the involvement of young people in poverty alleviation.
Miss Duguivalu also spoke today and highlighted how the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) complemented each other in the fight against poverty.
USP students who were shortlisted in an essay competition on how to achieve poverty eradication sustainably in the Pacific presented on their essays. First year Bachelor of Arts student Musarat Natasha Begg won the first prize in the essay competition. Her essay focused on education as a sustainable means of poverty alleviation.
Renowned poverty alleviation advocate Father Kevin Barr urged people to "make friends with the poor and see society and its injustice through their eyes."
In her message for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark highlighted that investing in sustainable development was no longer a question of choice, but was the only option.
"By committing to action on sustainable development, we can tackle the many challenges our world faces - economic crises, climate change, ecosystem decline, continued energy poverty, and conflict and despair in many places," she said.